Thoughts on the Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Killer Dew, Brah

In an effort prove my usefulness and non-being-a-complete-weirdo-ness, TotD invites you to listen to a rare bird: an ’83 that is solid goodness: no post-drums Sleepy Bear, no slacking from Phil, the drummers play as though they’d been introduced to one another before the show: 4/26/83 at the Spectrum in Philly in a great remaster by Yoda himself, Charlie Miller.

A big Shakedown to open, followed by a Minglewood with one of Garcia’s finest solos from the period. And an Esau (You all know how much I love an Esau.) And a Help>Slip>Franklin’s that someone–I won’t say who–remembers all the words to, and then to celebrate, that unnamed person skips Space in favor of Solo, and just turns his guitar up really loud after the drum solo.

Brah? The Dew? The Dew, brah? Killer. Killer Dew, brah. Killer Dew.

Go listen. This one’s not good for ’83: it’s good.

Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorce

Does anyone else remember Dave, and his Picks? They’re back!

Dave’s Picks 14 comes from the legendary, but mysterious, Academy of Music run at the end March, 1972, right before they hit Europe. As usual, it sounds pristine and clear and clean and wide; you can hear nascent (but still deeply spacey) Playin’ and the greatest love song that no one’s ever heard of Two Souls in Communion here (and while here, order the whole shebang.)

The Academy of Music in 1972 was a–


–place full of whoopty-doo and also a lot of yippee.

The nice people should just go to the unparalleled Dead Essays, where there is a voluminous and enlightening historiography of the run.

Okay. What now?

I don’t know. But that’s better than you could do. It contains facts and talks to itself far less.

How much less?

None at all.

Bold choice. Ah, I was going to yell at David Lemjolnieuxir.

Oh, why? Of all the related ventures that fall under the umbrella of “Grateful Dead,” the one that bears his name is the most consistently high quality. And comes out on time.

I have some things I need to discuss with him.

At least let the man speak for himself.

As always, DL was interested and interesting when you could hear him over what I can only assume was a sharknado taking place immediately behind the camera. For those of you in countries in which the above video was blocked, please let me give you the transcript:


Luckily, the third and fourth DaP’s of the year generally come during less windy months in the Bay Area, so we have that to look forward to.

But, Enthusiasts, we here at Thoughts on the Dead need to look forward to nothing, because here for an exclusive interview that will go poorly is the man, himself: Dead archivist David Lemieux.

“Oh, hi. Am…am I a part of this now? I don’t think I want to be a part of this. Please don’t–”

Hey, Dave. Whatcha doing?

“–make me a part of whatever goes on in here. Um, hey.”

Great pick, man. Looking forward to it.

“Thanks. Listen, can I leave? Not to be rude, but: may I go?”

Dave, this is a safe space.

“It is not. It is explicitly not: you have created a semi-fictional version of me to use as a sock puppet for the purposes of–and I’m quoting you–yelling at me. It is the opposite of a safe space.”

Just a couple quick questions. I promise you I won’t accuse you of things.

“You do that a lot. It’s unsettling.”

No accusations. No weird stuff. You’re doing such a great job with the Dave’s Picks: they’re both a worthy successor to Dick’s Pick’s, and stand on their own. A neophyte would do worse than to simply listen to the DaP series in order to get an overview of the band’s music.

“Oh, all right.”

What’s the next Pick?

“Can’t talk aboot it.”


What? What did I do?

“Gonna gimme the thick Canadian accent, eh? Oh, c’mon!”

All right! Sorry. Sorry. You’re right: no one should do that to the English language. Gimme something on the next pick: it’s surely chosen?

“Ahhhh, ok. The show did not take place in California. Wait: that might be the one after this one. Disregard everything I said. It’s gonna be a great show, I know that.”

What about the Big Box Set? Are the rumors about the May ’77 Betty Boards true, and that’s the Big Box Set? Tell the nice people about it.

“It’s big. Bigger than Europe.”


“Like, the actual continent?”

Or the rock band.

“Still talking physically?”


“Neither. It’s a couple dozen CD’s in a nice case with some books and stuff. There were five big Swedes in that band and Europe is a place. Places have to be bigger than things. It is their complementary nature.

“Things need places to be.

“And without things, how do you even know there’s a place? These two simple words encompass this reality and all others, at their cores.”

That’s some deep shit, David Lemieux.

“No charge.”

We should be in the next season of True Detective.


Anyway: I like your videos. I might be one of the very, very few people who made it all the way through due to the wind noise which makes it painful to listen to with headphones, but I like them. Your enthusiasm is catching.

“Well, thanks. I appreciate that.”

I take your advice, too: I downloaded a copy of Mickey’s 1972 album Rolling Thunder. I also noticed you really made a point of the liner notes. Guy named Jammy Jerbil wrote ’em?

Jesse Jarnow. He’s a tremendous young writer and smart young man and everybody is very, very high on the kid. Great, great writer and tremendous addition to the Grateful Dead creative family.”

Jimmy Jumpjump?

“I think we all see what you’re doing.”


“Stop this. You’re just embarrassing yourself.”


“Okay, what’s going on here? Jesse is very nice to you on Twitter.”

He is, yes.

“So, you should be happy for him.”

Yeah, that’s the way brains work.

“Regardless: do you even want to do liner notes? You’ve expressed no interest in ever writing a straight review and, you know, buddy: we just can’t have Mecha-Billy showing up in anything official.”

You mean you won’t admit to Mecha-Billy in anything official.

“Okay, whatever, sure. You want an audition?”

For the liner notes gig?



“Yeah. What show do you want to do?”

Any show? Wow. How about a dark horse teenage favorite, 9/10/91?

“Oh, 9/10/91? You need to bring Bruce and Branford’s lawyers into this? Good choice, dope. That’s why you can’t do the liner notes. Just pick something obvious.”

Fine, how about 4/12/78? The Duke show.

“Well, you know: not that obvious.”

There was no show I could have picked you wouldn’t have been mean about, is there?

“No. Okay, let’s hear the liner notes. Just gimme a taste.”

Huh. Okay.

“No rush.”

Don’t do that. Gimme a second. Okay: Webster’s dictionary defines “Grateful Dead” as a large and hairy brute, given to raping and pillaging, but only statutory rape, and it was the seventies.

“Are you kidding me?”

You’re saying it needs a polish?

“More references to rape than you usually see in liner notes to live albums by choogly-type bands.”

Okay, I can tone it down.

“Way down. Way, way, so much more way down.”

I got it, I got it: The Grateful Dead’s concert at Cameron Indoor Stadium on April 12th, 1978, only makes sense if you imagine that–through some arcane and evil magicks–cocaine has acheived physical form as a rabid polar bear rampaging through the building, and eating all the people who it didn’t infect with the Curse of the Werepolar Bear.

“Do you not hear the problem?”

Did I misspell Cameron?

“That was not the problem. Which, again, boggles the mind that you can’t hear.”

How about this: The Duke show: great, you know it by heart, blah blah, let’s talk about Bobby’s potato salad.

“We’re done here.”


Legitimate Reasons To Spend Five Hours In A Candian Movie Theater

  • Moose in the lobby.

Legitimate Reasons To Spend Five Hours In A Movie Theater

  • Shoah.
  • Simulcast of the Bayreuth Festival.
  • You’ve been promised a sum of money to do so, and have judged that sum to be adequate recompense for your time.
  • Some sort of maniac has sewn you into your seat.
  • Air conditioner at home is broken.
  • Got fired three weeks ago, but haven’t figured out a way to tell your wife, so you spend your days watching movies and crying in the darkness.
  • Some sort of maniac stole your legs.
  • If there was a bomb and the movie theater had to stay above 50 miles an hour or something: one of those scenarios where if you left the auditorium, bombs would go off. That kind of thing is a very good reason to remain in a movie theater for five hours.
  • K-hole.
  • Satori.
  • Really hated a fruit fly and wanted to waste 30% of her life.
  • ┬áSome sort of maniac is standing in front of you, just a maniac standing in front of a boy, and asking for a shot at love.
  • And no matter how good a talker that maniac is–and most maniacs are great talkers–do not fall in love with any sort of maniac. There’s a reason they’re called maniacs. You can have a room full of lunatics, weirdos, nutjobs, fruitcakes, wackadoos, screwy Louies, or even plain old crazy motherfuckers and have a lovely afternoon; when a maniac shows up, someone’s going to the hospital or jail.
  • Do not fall in love with maniacs. They will maniac you.
  • The movie theater is the last refuge against zombies.
  • The movie theater is the last refuge against draculas.
  • The movie theater is the last refuge against terrordactyls.
  • Fell asleep.

Bruce Hornsby & The Ginge #10

trey bruce big“Movie theaters, Bruce?”

“Movie theaters, Trey. Wave of the future. Hope there’ll be some drive-in theaters included. Love to take my Oldsmobile and my best girl and bang her in the back seat without any worry whatsoever of AIDS, which does not exist yet.”

“You were being ironic in calling it the wave of the future.”

“I was, yes.”

“Well done, then. So: why?”

“As far as I can tell, it’s the last technology they all understand.”


“Mickey thinks webcasting involves breeding super-intelligent spiders, and he’s for that. Even after it was explained to him, Mickey demanded that Operation Spider, PhD. go forward.”

“That sounds about right. I assume Billy voted with him.”

“Yes, but only to annoy Phil. Billy’s terrified of spiders and intelligence.”



“What the hell did we sign up for?”

“A long, strange trip, Treyvon.”

Places I’d Rather Watch The Farewell Shows Than A Movie Theater

  • Haunted house.
  • On a JetBlue flight to Vancouver to pick up my estranged brother’s remains. Middle seat.
  • Waffle House at 3 a.m.
  • A sad zoo with sad animals in sad cages and sad children watching them stand there sadly.
  • A weird zoo made up of only wallabies and a dead camel named Albert.
  • An exciting zoo that employed as keepers anarchists, animal-rights activists, and the forgetful.
  • Any zoo, really. Zoos should be outlawed.
  • On a Duck Boat tour of Boston. Quack quack.
  • On a Fuck Boat tour of Bangkok. Cock cock.
  • In Marriott Hotel convention room B with a bunch of cosplayers.
  • Maricopa County jail.
  • Rura Penthe.
  • Azkaban.
  • Bedlam.
  • Arkham.
  • At a Discount Shoe Warehouse the week before school starts.
  • A Generation Ship bound for the outskirts of the Felis system that got intercepted by the Death Poets of Knar’r and ritually destroyed for the glory of the Holy Limerick.
  • A basement in Saigon with Christopher Walken and a revolver.
  • An abattoir.
  • An oubliette.
  • Bricked up in the walls of a church like a Medieval nun the Mother Superior caught humping the gardener.
  • Tokyo (during Godzilla attack.)
  • Eritrea (anytime.) (Sorry, Eritrea: your shit’s fucked up.)
  • One of those cruise-ships full of diarrhea.
  • FOB 211, Afghanistan.
  • The locker room of the team the Harlem Globetrotters always beats, the Washington Generals. It has to smell like bad choices and balls in there.
  • A CVS in the middle of the night with tweakers wandering up and down the aisles for hours.
  • An old-time movie theater. Not a romantic, grand motion picture house: just a rundown Loews in the exurbs that hadn’t been redone since it was built and the sound’s shitty and the hot dogs are old and there are two or three drifters having sex in the men’s room.
  • While accompanying Ray Lewis on his errands, which take three to four hours because of all the times Ray Lewis stops to yell about Jesus–and commitment and teamwork and other things but mostly Jesus–to fellow shoppers.
  • A failing Unitarian church in Newark, Delaware.

The Jungle Of Namm

bobby micky pointing
“Look at this guy!”

“Oh, no. Oh, no: look at this nut right here.”

“This fellow right here, lemme tell you about him.”

“Take a gander at Mr. Sunglasses-and-T-shirt.”

“Oh, we all know I’m having a giggle: it’s Bobby Weir, ladies and gentlemen. My friend and bandmate for 50 years, Bobert Herbert Walker Weir.”

“What a kooky guy.”

“Godammit, Bobby, what’s my name?”

“I want to say The Living Armadillo, but I know that’s wrong.”

“Are you all fucked up on pills?”

“All? No. Not ‘all.'”

“I’m calling Phil.”

“No, no, no. I’m cool. You’re Billy. Your name is Billy. I was playing around with you, Billy.”

“Close enough.”

Never Forget A Face

Bob WeirHey, Bobby. Whatcha doing?

“Enjoying my haircut.”

You look like Christoph Waltz.

“Well, all handsome people look alike; it’s the nature of the beast.”


“Sure, it’s just about symmetry and proportion. Eyes this far away from nose, mouth this big in relation to the nose, that kind of thing. It’s not that the rest of the guys in the band are ugly, it’s that their faces are fucked up, mathematically.”

That will reassure them.

“I look like a thousand other handsome white guys: Harrison Ford, Robert Redford, but in goofiness comes uniqueness. Phil didn’t look like anyone. Garcia didn’t look like anyone.”

Garcia looked like a tall Ewok.

“Ewoks aren’t real.”

Garcia looked like a tall koala.

“Knock it off. The laws of attraction are numerical laws, my friend.”

Something to mull over.

“Y’know who I used to get mistaken for constantly? Yaphet Kotto.”

No shit.

“Yup. Never understood it myself, but anything that’ll help me pull black chicks is fine by me.”

Reasons Unfathomable

peter shapiro“Hey, Thoughts on the Dead! How’s it going?”

Oh, no. You should not be in here.

“It’s me, Pete. Hey now, brother.”

Um, hi.

“Wanted to pop in and give you an exclusive. I figured we announced the Fare Thee Medium Well shows on the radio, so for this big news we might as well go to the number-one source of the web for information on the Dead, as well as digressive conversations with imagined personae of the Dead, and the occasional movie parody.”

So, you read the site.

“Dude, here’s my morning routine: coffee, poop, kale smoothie, second poop, baker’s dozen bong hits, TotD. Then the sun rises on the West Coast and the calls start a-rolling in from the Boys and their wives and various lawyers and bartenders that Billy has given my number to.”

Billy does that a lot?

“Oh, they all do it a lot, but Billy’s the only one still hanging out at bars staffed by people who would use the number.”

Okay, you had some news for the Enthusiasts?

“Yes! We are very excited to be announcing that the Chicago shows–all three of them–will be simulcast via closed-circuit to selected premium theaters all across this great country; Heads can gather together and watch the Fare Thee Well shows larger-then-life with state-of-the-art sound, and other phrases held together with dashes. It’s going to be great!”

Y’know, you’re a dick.


This is not exclusive: I read it on Jambase, like, seven hours ago.

“You do realize I’m not actually real, right? And that this is you making up both sides of the conversation?”

NEVERTHENONETHELESS, sir. You’re real to me.

“Yeah, right: that’s the problem I’m talking about.”

Can we continue?

“It’s entirely up to you, isn’t it?”

Yes. So: simulcast via closed-circuit to theaters, huh?


This is a concert in 2015, rather than a prize-fight in 1974, right?

“You’re quick to be snarky, but the Meetups at the Movies have been a consistent hit for the Dead.”

But, they show movies during those. That’s why they’re at movie theaters. Once, they showed something called The Grateful Dead Movie. They show them at movie theaters because they’re movies.

“Listen, man: Heads are communal-type folks–”

Actually, there now many Deadhead agoraphobes. Thank God for the internet.

“–and they’re going to want to celebrate together.”

Sure, yeah. At their Deadhead friend’s house. Or at the bar in town that has the Dead cover band every Thursday. Or in their backyard. Basically: anywhere that’s not an anonymous, antiseptic space society demands silence in.

“I disagree.”

Okay. Pete?


The Dead: they used to play one set or two?

“Two, obviously.”

And they’ll play two at Chicago?

“That’s a good bet, yeah.”

Bobby always used to say the thing: “We’ll be right back, don’t fall into the pit, takin’ a short break, etc.”


Was it ever a “short break?” Or was that a lie every single time? Because “short break” meant what, Peter?

How long was the set break, man?

“Depending on the night, it could range–”

Stop that: an hour. Those baboons would fuck around and get high and receive their tuggers and continue the Parcheesi game for an hour backstage, and there is no reason to think they’ve sped up as they’ve aged.

“A lot of theaters nowadays have multiple entertainment options.”

Are you talking about the arcade games in the lobby?

“The one where you hunt the deer is my favorite.”

Mine, too, but do you really think people are going to be happy to wander around a theater lobby creeping out the teenaged staff during the break? Or should we stay in our seats and read? This is a terrible idea.

“Fathom Events already paid for the rights. Check cleared.”

Great idea, Pete.



Bob Weir and Carlos Santana

“C’mon, Carlos.”

“I don’t wanna.”

“You saw the trailer?”

“Yeah, I saw the trailer. I just don’t wanna do it.”

“Aww, man.”


“Yay! Okay, here we go: ‘Chewie, we’re home.'”


“Wasn’t that fun?”

“It was kinda fun.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,269 other followers